BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney faced a raucous crowd of around 500 Florida House District 19 constituents at First Presbyterian Church Wednesday evening.
Rooney answered about 25 questions in the span of 90 minutes, and nothing was off the table.
Issues such as the House’s new health care bill, Planned Parenthood and the Trump administration took center stage.
“He’s answering, but he’s not really answering anything,” said one woman who chose not to reveal her name. “People have legitimate questions, but he’s a typical politician.”
Rooney’s approval in the new health care bill vote to defund Planned Parenthood drew the ire of many constituents.
“I think we learned he’s a absolutely party line man,” Fort Myers resident Robin Kessler said. “He espouses something that we know are not true, like saying that Planned Parenthood has done some awful things.”
But the heated debate turned off many others.
“It’s important to get to the bottom of we don’t understand. It’s an “us versus them” — and it doesn’t have to be that way,” Fort Myers resident Annie Filkowski said.
However, Rooney just considers it all part of the democratic process.
“We had an active and engaged discussion with difference of opinion and it shows how strong the First Amendment is in Lee and Collier counties,” he said. “We can be proud that we may have differences, but we can air them publicly in the U.S.”
Rooney is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington next week. Although his time with the president is limited, he plans to address the importance of saving the Everglades.